Gratitude and Recovery After Outdoor Trauma

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Gratitude and Recovery After Outdoor Trauma

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    Backpacking Light


    Locale: Rocky Mountains

    BPL author Rex Sanders meditates on gratitude and 2020 as he recovers from a traumatic brain injury during the time of COVID and wildfires.

    d k
    BPL Member


    Wow, Rex –  I had no idea.  I’m so sorry you went through all that, but very relieved to hear that the outcome has been so good!  Thanks for writing this.

    Somewhat coincidentally, I just this morning finished reading “Angels in the Wilderness” by Amy Racina…someone who had horrific injuries in a fall while hiking solo in the remote Sierra.  She writes a LOT about her gratitude and appreciation of everyday things (maybe even too much, but I can certainly understand given her experience).

    Iago Vazquez
    BPL Member


    Locale: Boston & Galicia, Spain

    Wow, sorry to hear, Rex. Glad to hear that recovery seems to be going in the right track!

    Gratitude… Life long mindset. As always, I am grateful for my love and health. As Rex, I am appreciative of my luck in still being able to get outdoors, albeit with some restrictions and limitations. And finally, I am appreciative of my employer’s modified schedule since this summer, which has made life in Covid times much more manegeable when compared to the spring working conditions and expectations.

    David Thomas
    BPL Member


    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    Rex; So sorry you went through that.  I’m glad you’re on the mend.

    Yeah, Poison Oak is never dealt with as quickly as the dermologists suggest it will be.  Score more predisone and taper it more slowly than they recommend.  However good you think the pills or ointment are, it’s the shot in the butt that really works wonders!

    So BPL writers can continue in their roles, despite brain damage?  Is this news?

    Paul Wagner
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wine Country

    Sorry to hear about your accident.  I had a couple of less serious health encounters in 2020 as well, and it seems to have taken longer than usual for me to recover–which may be a result of my advancing age.  Something to consider!

    Lennox N
    BPL Member


    Cool to see the local (to me) sign from El Arroyo. They have posted interesting, thoughtful and humorous things for years. Sorry to hear about your accident Rex. I wish you a continued and speedy recovery.

    BPL Member


    Thanks for writing this. Lots of reasons to be thankful indeed. Chris’s son had an accident in September than left him without oxygen for over 20 minutes and he suffered global anoxic brain damage. Last month he woke from a vegetative state; we hope he will be able to walk or see again but we don’t know. Nothing should ever be taken for granted.

    Stephen Seeber
    BPL Member


    Wow Rex.  Who knew?  This year, regretfully, I left my mountain bike in the garage.  I think hiking has become my safest activity (not withstanding my slide, on my back, head first, down a portion of the Trough on Long’s Peak this summer).  Speedy recovery and have a much safer 2021.

    andrew mitchell
    BPL Member


    I am a retired ER doctor.

    Cortisone pills work as well as shots- just need to be taken in high doses 4 times a day for 10 days.

    Short term memory needs to be recorded to be remembered.

    Maybe your migraine triggered the accident.

    Unconscious rage is a common cause of chronic back aches, neck aches, headaches, and stomach aches.

    I was in a head on collision several years ago and saved by seat belt and airbag.

    Gratitude is one of the best causes of happiness.

    Anne Flueckiger
    BPL Member


    Locale: Northern Minnesota

    Thank you for this.

    Rex Sanders
    BPL Member


    Thank you all for the kind words and encouragement. Yesterday I hiked 6 miles of trails in coastal California’s harsh winter weather :-), my longest walk by far since the crash. Went much better than expected. Plus the neck pain and mysterious poison oak rashes seem to have taken “a long winter’s nap.”

    Gratitude, kindness, and generosity can lead to happiness. And they aren’t hard to do. But I still need to remind myself daily.

    Enjoy as much of the outdoors as you can!

    I hope that others in the BPL community who are suffering from any cause can find relief.

    — Rex

    Gary Dunckel
    BPL Member


    Locale: Boulder

    Thanks for this gift of your insights, Rex. Your idea of gratitude, kindness, and generosity resonates well with me. May we all spread as much of these things as we can.

    While we all slowly lose some of our ‘excellence’ as we age, I am reminded of a line that an old Montana cowboy mentioned to me when I was a kid – “I’m not as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.” As long as we can continue to do some things that we love, life is still pretty darned good. This Covid ‘adventure’ has taught me that a little bit of happiness is actually a lot.

    I hope your recovery continues to go well, Rex.

    Michael B
    BPL Member


    Thank you for sharing your story, Rex. This year has helped me to look for similar things – I had a friend who I ride with who recently had a bad stroke while at home. He is now rehabilitating well according to his family who sends us updates – I am hopeful he will recover fully, but as you say in your writing, everyone’s experience with brain trauma is different, and I consider it a miracle and wonder the human body and its ability to cope, even if lost systems never end up functioning the same. I lost hearing in my left ear for no apparent reason a little over two years ago; it is a source of depression for me at times (being a musician/singer) and it is a reminder of how life doesn’t always work the way we want it to, but somehow it is also a reminder of all the other good things that life has brought, and that it is much more productive to be thankful rather than spiteful. I’ve sent the article to my friend and hope he can be encouraged by it, so thanks again for sharing.

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